He manages to slip out of the house relatively unnoticed. The housekeeper auntie had left for the day, mercifully sparing them another one of her attempts at a home cooked meal, while Elijah had turned in for the night. Yohan, meanwhile, had one of his “late night appointments” to tend to with K, which Gaon knew was thinly veiled code for weeding out all those remotely loyal or attached to Minister Cha as they continued their chase.
Gaon drives out of the sprawling complex, now having the knowledge of where Yohan kept all his car keys. Yohan’s collection was quite varied — from his favorite SUVs to innocuous sedans. Gaon decides on the black sedan, the least assuming of the lot and the one that Yohan used the least. It would help him evade any unwanted notice, and the license plate had not shown up in any records, which meant it would make it difficult for Soohyun to track just in case anything went awry. He wonders if Soohyun would have picked up on anything from their last conversation, vague and offbeat for them.
His mind is a cloudy mess of emotions as he drives into the night. The same images flash through his memory — the man who had stolen everything from him, living in relative obscurity and oblivion as an ordinary farmer with a wife and child.
The sheer fucking audacity of it all, Gaon thinks as he speeds out of the city into the countryside. He avoids using GPS, since that signal wouldn’t be tracked as well. Not only by Soohyun, but by Yohan as well. He remembers the resolute way that Yohan had shielded him with his body from charging into that thieving bastard Do Youngchoon’s tiny shed.
Don’t be rash, Yohan had told him with a firm grip to his arms. He’s a much needed piece of bait.
But Gaon’s patience was fast wearing thin. He had been patient for sixteen years. That was far more than what the bastard deserved.
Now was the hour.
Gaon had little trouble finding his way to the farm where Do Youngchoon now lived on, the route burned into his memory for future use. He knows how to sneak in without being detected, something that K had given him a bit of a lesson of, recently.
Do Youngchoon doesn’t even know what's coming to him. He doesn't even seem to hear the door open, only finally noticing the presence of another human being when the door is slammed shut.
In the shadows, wearing those dark clothes, Gaon might just look like death incarnate. He pauses in front of the doorway, eyes fixed on Do Youngchoon, sitting at his woodwork table as if that had all he’d been doing his whole life. Do Youngchoon slowly shifts his gaze from the wood carvings on his table to a waiting Gaon.
“Who are you?” Do Youngchoon asks carefully, complete oblivion in his words. His hand holding the carving tool pauses.
“Are you atoning?” Gaon ignores his question coldly, fists clenched on his side. It’s taking plenty of restraint for him to not immediately charge at Do Youngchoon. He’s learning to wait, something like a hunter who would wait for the most opportune moment, as he’d once said to Yohan.
Do Youngchoon slowly rises from his chair when he hears the word atoning. His mouth is slightly parted, as if what Gaon had said were so audacious and confusing. “Who are you?” Do Youngchoon parrots his question one more time.
Of course he wouldn’t fucking remember, Gaon thinks as he stares down Do Youngchoon, gaze feral. What were two poor, ordinary people to him, amongst the so many he’d deceived over the years?
“Who says you can pretend to be atoning? Don’t you know how many people have lost their lives because of you?” How Do Youngchoon could be allowed to walk free, continuing to live his life seemingly without any dire consequence, while Gaon had to live in grief and suffering for over a decade — that very thought ignited a fire in his veins.
At that reminder, there’s the echoing sound of a clatter when Do Youngchoon drops his woodworking tool to the ground. “Are you...are you one of the victims?” Gaon resists the urge to laugh audibly, loudly and hollowly, hearing that tremor in Do Youngchoon’s voice. Feigning his fear so well.
Gaon doesn’t even dignify that question with an answer. Seeing that empty, rageful look in Gaon’s eyes, Do Youngchoon slumps onto the ground, on his knees. He’s even capable of hanging his head in shame, Gaon thinks, his blood turning to ice.
“I’ve committed a terrible sin,” Do Youngchoon begins to weep but to Gaon, it feels a lot more like he was apologizing to the wooden planks on the floor than to him and those he’d lost. “I am very sorry,” he says through a sob.
“Spare me the act,” Gaon deadpans. “Did you ever think I’ll fall for it? I know exactly what kind of person you are. Where did you hide all that money to put on a charade like this?” Do Youngchoon’s so- called new life may as well be a stage play to Gaon — all his words, a mere script for him to continue living unnoticed.
Do Youngchoon looks back up. “No, no, it’s not like that,” he pleads, voice unsteady. “Most of it had been seized, and whatever I had left was taken from me by Minister Cha. I don’t have anything left. I have no means of repaying the victims. I’m just waiting for the day when I’m brought to hell.”
That’s far more than enough for Gaon, who’s decided that he’s fed up with exercising restraint and listening to this sad excuse of a life prattle on about atonement.
Everything that happens after that is a blur to Gaon. The next thing he finds himself doing is pinning Do Youngchoon to his work table,wringing his hands around his neck, rage coursing through all his movements.
Die, die, die, is all that Gaon can think of as he stares down Do Youngchoon. He thinks that he’s doing something he didn’t have the power to do all those years ago.
Gaon doesn’t even realize how much time has passed since he first started pinning Do Youngchoon down onto the table until he hears the door slam open once again and two people charge into the shed — a middle aged woman and a girl who looks like she’s still in middle school. Do Youngchoon’s wife and daughter. His family. Representing all that Gaon once had but lost.
“Please, please stop,” the two women plead with Gaon through trembling voices and tears. One pleads for the life of her husband, the other for her father. What an irony this was, Gaon thinks.
He doesn’t loosen his grip until the girl says, let me take his place, please, he’s my father, and the moment Gaon looks into her eyes the strength is drained from his arms. He crumples to the ground in a half defeated heap, body wracked with sobs.
How could you, he lashes out at Do Youngchoon and his poor wife and daughter, oblivious to his sins.
How could you go on playing the role of an ordinary human? You don’t even deserve to be human. You should be a demon.
The three people huddle by the woodworking table, a wretched heap, as if afraid that Gaon would strike out at them next. But they’re interrupted again when the door slams open for a third time in the night.
This time, it’s someone whom Gaon had least expected to see tonight.
“Sir,” Gaon’s voice comes out as a stutter. Before he even has time to question how Yohan had managed to find him, Yohan picks Gaon up as if he weighed the same as feathers, hauling him outside the shed. Even when Gaon verbally protests, his business with Do Youngchoon still unfinished, Yohan ignores his pleas.
Yohan goes back into the shed, dragging Do Youngchoon out as if he were dragging out a garbage bag emanating the most putrid of odors. He locks the door of the shed, making Gaon flinch from fear. Yohan then orders Gaon to hold on to Do Youngchoon, in case he tried to escape.
Yohan then walks over to where a few containers of kerosene lay. He doesn’t hesitate to uncap the containers, before dumping the contents on old piles of wood. The horrific realization of what Yohan was truly doing dawns onto Gaon, and even as he shouts his protests, it’s as if Yohan cannot hear him at all.
There’s the unmistakable sound of the click of a lighter, and both Gaon and Do Youngchoon let out horrified sounds when large flames begin to form. Gaon pleads with Yohan to stop, there were still people inside the shed, but he looks at Gaon with that familiar half smirk of his before he says, “I want to test him.”
Yohan then walks over to a nearby patch on the road. Do Youngchoon is instantly horrified by the sight of the ground that had been dug up. He cries about his money, but is ignored by Yohan who tugs off a large sheet from an unevenly shaped pile.
“Were you looking for this?” Yohan hums as he pulls out a thick stack of bills. Do Youngchoon makes a panicked noise, but Yohan is, as always, a step ahead as he whips out another lighter, throwing it onto the pile of bills as if they were nothing, darnel meant to be discarded away from the good crops.
Do Youngchoon lets out a blood curdling scream as the flames consume the pile of money. Yohan holds Gaon back again, but Yohan says with gritted teeth into his ear, calm down and watch him. Watch him.
Yohan had once said that if there were no other motives to explain a wrongdoer’s actions, money would at the end be at the root of it. Gaon watches as the proverb about leopards never changing their spots unfurls in the reality in front of him.
Do Youngchoon does not choose the burning shed with possibly the only two things left that showed he had some minute ounce of humanity left. Instead, he chooses the one thing that has probably motivated him all this while, the one thing feeding him.
Gaon stands next to Yohan, watching as Do Youngchoon makes a mess of the pile of dollar bills. It only dawns on Do Youngchoon far too late that the bills were fakes, just paper printed on one side. His cackles echo in the night sky, the growing flames dancing around them.
“Wait, I have to go get them out—” Gaon stutters as he tries to break again out of Yohan’s hold, but to no avail. Yohan echoes his words from before, ordering him to stand and watch.
Walking through the flames unharmed with stone faced expressions on their faces are Do Youngchoon’s wife and daughter, accompanied by K, who must have gotten them out amidst the fray.
Do Youngchoon stumbles towards them, throwing aside the fake bills he still clutched in his hand like a life line.
“He lied, even to his family,” Yohan says softly into Gaon’s ear as the two women come to certain realizations about the most significant male figure in their lives. “He told them that all the money was gone.”
Gaon’s lips slightly part at the shock. The victims were one thing, but to deceive his family was something else altogether. Do Youngchoon’s pleas for forgiveness to his family fall on deaf ears, and his wife slaps him across the face for his pure avarice.
The wife escorts away their daughter, far away from the farm property, ignoring and abandoning Do Youngchoon, who collapses to the ground, his laughter hollow and maniacal.
Gaon flinches slightly when he feels Yohan press something into his palm. “Your revenge, if you wish to take it. Don’t hesitate about it.”
Gaon takes his steps toward Do Youngchoon, the memories of all those years ago repeating in his mind on a frenzied loop. Do Youngchoon pleads for his life, and Gaon only pauses a moment until he throws the box cutter into the distance, the sharp object disappearing into the night.
He turns back, pausing next to Yohan. “He’s our only ticket to Minister Cha,” he says without a single tremor in his voice. “Let’s not waste him.” Without another word, he turns away, not seeing the small smirk forming on Yohan’s lips.
Yohan gestures to K to bring Do Youngchoon along with them, Do Youngchoon still laughing even as he’s taken away from what had been his safe haven all these years.
Gaon has already overtaken them, so Yohan pauses at the car just parked outside the entrance to the farm, as K continues to keep his vice-like grip on Do Youngchoon’s collar. “Bring him to where we agreed on,” he says to K. “I’ll meet you there at the time we discussed.”
K bows wordlessly, before tossing Do Youngchoon into the back seat of the car, binding his wrists to the overhead armrest.
Just before K leaves, he pauses. “You’re not leaving yet, Judge Kang?”
Yohan’s expression is distant, his hands on his hips as he gazes out into the seemingly endless darkness. “Not yet. I still have some unfinished business.”
K’s lips tremble, but he does not pursue the matter, simply driving off with their new prisoner.
Yohan makes his way down to the lake, where Gaon was continuing to observe the house, by now becoming a skeleton of what it once was.
“So where is the real money hidden?” Gaon asks.
Yohan looks back at him with a relaxed smirk. “It’s right where he buried it.”
At that revelation, Gaon’s mouth slightly falls agape. “So you tricked him?”
Yohan shrugs. “It’s like I’ve said before. Men will lose all their senses when they believe they’ve lost the only thing they truly value.” This time, Gaon’s lips curl up into a knowing smile.
The two of them turn to have a good, long look at the burning property. The view before them is almost beautiful like this, framed by the lake and the night sky. The tainted, being cleared for the new.
Gaon turns his head slightly when he feels something brush against his fingers. In the lights of the embers, he can see Yohan tentatively reach out, his fingers just barely touching his own, as if unsure what sort of gesture he should extend.
Gaon doesn’t hesitate, his hand coming to envelop over Yohan’s, intertwining their fingers firmly. It seems to ground him, the rush of the emotions from all that had unfolded earlier slowing down.
Yohan looks over at Gaon, seeming as if he was studying his almost awed expression. Gaon, sensing Yohan’s intense gaze on him, turns to face him, smiling.
Yohan’s throat bobs slightly, feeling the warmth of Gaon’s hand on his. The distance between them becomes smaller and smaller, until Yohan releases his hold on Gaon’s hand to tug Gaon close as he kisses him, hands firm on the sides of Gaon’s face.
Gaon’s eyes slowly close as he relaxes in Yohan’s hold. His arms reach around Yohan’s back, hands resting on his shoulder blades as they continue to kiss. Yohan seems surprised that Gaon is kissing him back. The whole thing is frantic, a push and pull, neither wanting to back down. Gaon whines when Yohan threads his fingers in his hair, tugging slightly.
“W-wait,” Gaon exhales. Yohan slowly pulls away, looking equal parts confused mixed with something that might just resemble affection.
“I’m not that patient of a man, Kim Gaon, as you’ve already known by now,” Yohan tilts his head with a wry smile.
“We-we should head back,” Gaon says softly. His hair looked even more of a mess than before, plush lips slightly swollen.
Yohan’s smile doesn’t fade. “Eager, I see,” he hums before planting a brief kiss on Gaon’s lips, far more chaste than what they’d been doing before. “Fine. Let’s take you home.”
The ride back is arduous, both of them awkwardly trying to keep their focus on the fron. Gaon lets out a soft noise when he feels a hand come to rest on his thigh, lightly squeezing it. “Sir,” Gaon clears his throat. “I think you should, uh, keep both hands on the wheel.”
“Really, you’re going to tell me what to do now?” Yohan chuckles, amused by Gaon’s reaction.
“We should try to get back in one piece,” Gaon’s soft voice trails off as he shifts his gaze to look out the window. Yohan doesn’t seem to intend to move his way anytime soon. Gaon swallows. The journey home was beginning to feel like an extra long one.
Yohan parks the car at a breakneck speed, tugging Gaon by the wrist like a man clearly on a mission. They don’t take the main elevator which goes directly to the main corridors of the floor where all the rooms were, instead, Yohan brings Gaon to a less oft used elevator which would take them near enough without having to walk down the entire corridor.
For what it’s worth, they don’t even touch each other while they’re in the elevator, save for Yohan’s firm grip on Gaon’s wrist. When they arrive at the top floor, Yohan is half dragging Gaon.
“Can we not make so much noise,” Gaon hisses. “Elijah must be asleep by now.”
Yohan makes a very pained noise. “Please don’t bring Elijah up at a time like this.” At that, Gaon can only mumble a barely audible yes, sir, continuing to allow himself to be dragged along by Yohan. Yohan swings open the door to Gaon’s room, but thankfully for them it doesn’t make that much noise.
Yohan practically shoves Gaon inside, before closing the door behind them and locking it. Gaon’s lips slightly part in anticipation as he waits for Yohan to make the next move. Yohan doesn’t hesitate to pin Gaon against the wall, their kisses messier and noisier than before. Gaon parts his lips, letting Yohan lick into his mouth while his arms travel down Yohan’s body. He makes quick work of tugging down Yohan’s jacket, letting it fall to the ground.
Yohan grinds his hips against him, Gaon’s breathing becoming more uneven as Yohan kisses on the side of his jawline, then lowering his head to lightly nip at Gaon’s neck. Yohan pulls back, eyes dark with intent as he also tosses aside Gaon’s jacket, tugging at the hem of his shirt to pull it over his head. Gaon’s skin is flushed as he reaches his arms around to pull Yohan closer by the neck.
Yohan’s fingers trace the line of Gaon’s abs almost reverently, as if he wanted to memorize every single curve and line of Gaon’s body. Gaon would be content with them just continuing to kiss like this in a semi state of undress, but Yohan is already tugging him to the bed, pressing Gaon onto the mattress as he catches Gaon’s lips once more. Gaon lets out a soft, broken noise as he feels teeth lightly graze along his lip.
Yohan climbs over to straddle Gaon’s lap, leaning down to tug Gaon up by his chin for another heated kiss, and another. Gaon sits prettily between his legs, hands reaching behind to trace defined muscle along his back.
He hesitates for a moment, and Yohan knows that his fingers were resting on his scar, a memento of one of the most painful memories of his life. Yohan can feel Gaon wanting to retract his hand, but all Yohan does is push him back down onto the bed, hands wrapped around his wrists.
Yohan can be patient when he wants to, and takes his time marking Gaon’s skin with his mouth, finding out which spots elicited the most delectable sounds from Gaon. He takes particular delight in learning that Gaon especially liked it when his tongue circled his nipples.
“So sensitive,” Yohan hums into Gaon’s neck. Gaon’s breathing is ragged as his hands reach up to curl into Yohan’s hair, as if it would ground him to the earth.
“Yohan,” Gaon exhales, and the way that Gaon sounded punch drunk made Yohan even more curious about taking him apart.
Yohan makes quick work of unfasteningGaon’s pants, and Gaon manages a breathy laugh when Yohan mutters something about so much damn fabric being in the way. Gaon mirrors his actions, though his fingers are more steady and he fumbles a bit with the button. Yohan merely chuckles, but it’s not mocking, shaking off his own pants and chucking them aside with the rest of their clothes now strewn all over the floor.
It’s been a while since Gaon has been vulnerable this way to anyone like this. A tinge of insecurity begins to creep into his mind, and his hand shifts to cover his front. Yohan, however, won’t have any of that, shoving Gaon’s hand lightly aside.
“Let me look at you, Gaon,” he murmurs, kissing Gaon on the side of his mouth in a rare show of tenderness. Gaon is well built, and his hand traces down Gaon’s chest, to his abs, then his hip. Gaon flinches, curling his toes slightly when Yohan’s hand curls lightly around his half hard cock.
Yohan strokes Gaon’s cock experimentally, watching his face contort with a newfound intensity, as if it were of dire importance for him to find out what Gaon liked, and how he liked being touched. Gaon’s fingers curl into the sheets as he shuts his eyes tightly. He’s gnawing on his lower lip so hard that Yohan thinks he might draw blood.
“Don’t hold yourself back, Gaon,” Yohan whispers as he strokes Gaon’s cock faster this time. The friction and rhythm start to overwhelm Gaon’s senses, and his lips part so slightly, soft noises leaving his plush mouth.
Yohan smirks at that, enjoying watching Gaon slowly fall apart in his touch. The slide gets easier as precome beads at the tip, and Yohan’s touch is rough as he slowly strokes Gaon’s cock up and down, feeling him go hard.
Gaon lightly pushes at Yohan’s chest. Yohan pauses mid stroke, looking a bit confused. “Do you—do you not like it?” he murmurs, slowly retracting his hand, until Gaon seizes his hand with his own, mutely shaking his head.
Yohan’s confusion fades as he watches, entranced, as Gaon reaches to wrap his hand around his cock, stroking him but with a bit less finesse. Not that Yohan minded, seeing that his cock was getting hard as Gaon touched him.
How cute, Yohan absently thinks, but that thought is fast fleeting as he watches Gaon’s expression darken with determination, as if he wanted to make sure Yohan felt as good as he did too.
Yohan leans forward to capture Gaon’s lips with his own, while still lazily jerking Gaon off. Gaon rests his head on Yohan’s shoulder, his own movements more jagged as he tries to focus on getting Yohan off.
“Gaon,” Yohan hisses, almost a warning. The sight of Gaon looking absolutely wrecked, his normally neat hair falling into his face, hand wrapped around his cock was doing things to him too.
Fuck, Yohan thinks. He wonders how Gaon’s pretty mouth would look around his cock. Ah, well. That would be another lesson for another night.
Gaon moans into Yohan’s shoulder when Yohan tugs at his cock in a certain way that seemed to hit a spot for him. Yohan leans back slightly, taking both of their cocks into his large hand, stroking the both of them through staggered breaths.
“Y-Yohan, please,” Gaon pleads, his arms now wrapped around Yohan’s shoulders. With a few more strokes, Gaon comes with an audible, breathy moan. Yohan files that sound away, wanting to remember it for as long as he could. It’s not long before Yohan is coming too, Gaon’s nails digging into his back as he does.
Yohan collapses onto the bed, his back landing on the soft sheets. Gaon shifts so he’s lying on Yohan’s chest while he also catches his breath. His mouth is slightly open as he steadies himself. There’s a damp stickiness between them, and there’s a faint smell in the air.
“Shower,” is all Yohan manages to mumble, which elicits a hearty laugh from Gaon and a swift kiss to his cheek.
“That can wait,” Gaon hums, breath warm against Yohan’s cheek. Yohan isn’t so sure where to put his hands, and awkwardly starts patting Gaon’s back. He can feel Gaon smile against his chest as he snuggles closer, arms wrapping around him even tighter.
“Someone’s a bit clingy,” Yohan snorts in amusement.
“I’m just borrowing this spot to rest,” Gaon deadpans, shutting his eyes.
“Sure you are,” Yohan hums, but he’s gently running his hands along Gaon’s back.
There was no returning to what they were before this, Yohan is starkly aware. But he’s found that he now knows things that he wants to remember, to hold on to.
He looks at Gaon’s seemingly asleep form, suddenly feeling unsure as he contemplates his own deep seated fear of getting too close and then being left alone.
“I’ll be here in the morning, Yohan,” Gaon whispers after a moment, and Yohan swallows.
He was fast sinking in deep, and he was starting to find that he liked it.